Seeing this small-sized espresso machine, it is easy – almost tempting – to write it off. Certainly, it cannot brew a quality cup of espresso.
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Well, the takeaway from our Nespresso Pixie review is that it definitely does. It does make a few sacrifices to get there, but the Pixie certainly can meet most criteria for brewing espresso.
An Introduction To The Pixie – Quick Facts To Know
- Makes good quality espresso
- Easily programmable drink size
- Very easy to operate
- Delivers espresso super fast – heats up in just 30 seconds
- Requires some careful cleaning
Nespresso Pixie is no longer available in its original avatar. However, you can still buy this coffee maker in variants made by De’Longhi and Breville. The overall features remain constant with both manufacturers.
There is a small change, like Breville’s claim that the Pixie gets ready for action in 25 seconds, unlike De’Longhi’s 30 seconds. It’s not much and is barely noticeable, but it’s still something useful to know.
Other differences between both manufacturers are largely cosmetic, Like the change of appearance at the dispenser.
For the purpose of this review, I’m not going to differentiate between both manufacturers unless necessary. Both of them stand at pretty much the same level of performance, so there is no express need to make a distinction. If you prefer one brand over the other, it’s a good enough reason to choose it.
Features Of Note — Here’s What The Pixie Brings To You
Aesthetics And Construction Quality Of The Espresso Machine
An important functional aspect to know about the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine is that it has a 19 bar pump. Ideally, espresso should be brewed at a minimum pressure of 9 bars. By making 19 bars available, the espresso maker ensures the quality of the brew.
That also tells you where all the budget of this espresso maker went. Nespresso seems to skimp on construction quality. It isn’t bad, but you know it could have been better. Construction is done through the use of aluminum and ABS plastic. None of those materials should quality, but (thankfully) they aren’t bottom of the barrel material either.
The thin panels on the sides give away a hint of the economy employed in building this machine.
This is a compact machine that isn’t greedy for counter space. Dimensions for the Nespresso Pixie are 12.80 x 4.40 x 9.30 inches. That’s an adjustable and small enough dimensions to easily hook into a small spot.
As for the looks, they aren’t something to impress. They’re probably enough to get by. Individually, the views usually range from meh to fugly.
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Buttons are placed on the top of the machine to manage its function. They’re well-placed and easily accessible. The handle/latch is comfortable to use and is secured well in its place.
Overall, the construction quality isn’t impressive. But, it is good enough so the machine won’t crumble or break randomly when in use.
Nespresso Pixie Water Reservoir And Drip Tray
Pixie’s water reservoir can hold 24 oz. That isn’t a big tank, but remember this machine is supposed to brew espresso. That water volume is big enough to brew a dozen espressos (or slightly more).
There’s also a backlit LED water level indicator that lets you know when the water level in the reservoir is low. That’s one less worry and greater convenience for the user.
The drip tray at the front of the machine is foldable. It is easy to maneuver and can make for larger cups or carafe to be placed for the machine
And why does an espresso machine need space for a larger cup? Glad you asked, and the answer is…
Programmable Brew Control And Buttons
Out of the box, Nespresso Pixie offers two brew options, which are espresso and lungo. Using the default setting, the espresso comes in at 1.35 oz and lungo at 3.75 oz. Just hit the button of your choice and watch your choice of brew pour.
Buttons are backlit with LED lights so they remain easily visible even in dim lighting. This is very helpful and a huge improvement. Seriously, those weakly lit buttons that show up in some other machines are practically a waste.
An interesting feature is that the buttons are programmable. What’s better is that they’re easy to program. Swapping the default brew size with custom options is convenient and pain-free. Here’s how to go about it.
- Press and hold the brew button (for example, the espresso button)
- Keep holding the button as the beverage pours
- When you have the desired volume in the cup, release the button
- The volume of espresso you just brewed is now the new setting for the brew button (in our example, the espresso button)
The simple process is very useful to get the right amount of coffee/espresso in your cup. If you prefer Americano, setting the machine to brew your favored drink is very useful. Pixie remembers the brew selection the next time you hit that button.
If you need to get a new brew volume, simply repeat the process mentioned above. There is no limit on the volume you could brew this way. Theoretically, you could go all the way to 20 oz of (very watery) coffee. Practically, maybe limit yourself to an Americano!
Nespresso Pixie Pods — What Are My Choices?
On its original launch, the Pixie was locked to using Nespresso pods. Nespresso does have a good selection and I tend to favor their picks, but a pod-based espresso maker being locked to a brand is just a terrible idea.
Thankfully, that restriction no longer exists and you can get Nespresso Pixie pods, or rather, original line pods from a variety of companies. Of course, they still need to be compatible with the machine, but overall, there aren’t any hard restrictions.
There is also good news on the environmental front. Nespresso capsules are made from aluminum. As a material, aluminum is infinitely recyclable. As such, you can play an active part in recycling these pods.
In case there isn’t a recycling facility nearby, it is possible to use Nespresso’s pre-paid recycling bags and send the spent capsules back to the company for recycling.
It’s not an ideal solution, certainly not better than using no pods at all, but it is way better than consigning used capsules to the landfill.
If you’re using a single-serve machine, please remain mindful of the recycling efforts involved.
Descaling Nespresso Pixie Helps You Stay Good On Maintenance
Like any coffee maker, the Nespresso Pixie needs to undergo deep cleaning and descaling regularly.
It’s also worth noting that a small volume of water will stay in the reservoir. This is true even when the machine shows that the reservoir is “empty” with no water to brew an espresso. It is fruitful to empty and refill the reservoir every couple of days to avoid algae. You might also want to give it a wash while you’re at it!
Steps To Descaling The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Machine
Descaling Nespresso Pixie should be done every 1-2 months, depending on the frequency of use and water quality in your area. Here are the steps for descaling your Pixie espresso machine.
- Make sure the reservoir and capsule holder are empty.
- Fill the water reservoir with 15-16 oz of water.
- Fill the remaining space with Nespresso Descaling Solution or other compatible substances.
- Switch on the machine and wait until the light is steady to indicate it is heated and ready.
- Press both coffee buttons simultaneously and hold for three seconds. They’ll start blinking at this point.
- Place a carafe or jug capable of holding the full water reservoir under the machine nozzle. You may want to remove the drip tray to make space.
- Hit the Lungo button and wait for the water tank to empty.
- Transfer the contents of the carafe/jug back into the water reservoir.
- Hit the Lungo button again and wait for the water reservoir to empty.
- Discard contents of the carafe/jug.
- Thoroughly rinse and clean the water reservoir.
- Fill the reservoir with potable water and put it back in its place.
- Hit the Lungo button again and wait for the carafe to empty.
- Discard this water, add fresh water to the water reservoir, and repeat this process.
- You may have to rinse the machine with fresh water 2-3 times before it is ready for action.
- Press both coffee buttons simultaneously and hold for a second. The machine is now back to normal operating mode.
The number of steps makes it seem like a long process, but it only takes a few minutes. Plus, most of the steps are intuitive and you won’t struggle to get it right.
Nespresso Pixie In Action — Espresso Quality And Performance
Speed – It’s Quick To Deliver Coffee
Nespresso Pixie uses a thermoblock heating element. It’s remarkably fast and the preheating time is just 30 seconds. You can press your choice of brew/button and have your desired brew ready in under a minute.
The machine also takes good care of its energy consumption. Nespresso Pixie shuts itself down after nine minutes of staying idle. That may sound like a small window, but it is a good strategy for energy savings. Besides, you get a good brew in under a minute even when the machine starts at zero.
The Espresso Quality Is Praiseworthy
Even with its lower price tag, Nespresso Pixie doesn’t lack quality in the espresso brewed. It’s perhaps not top of the line, but it isn’t something to sneer at either. Shifting from espresso to lungo, or programming an americano comes easy.
The brew quality is good and Nespresso capsules offer a wide range of flavors and tastes.
Thanks to its 19 bar pump, the machine brews espresso at the recommended pressure requirements or better. The drawback is that it doesn’t quite manage to hit the recommended brew temperature of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, though it comes pretty close.
Since the Pixie is part of the Nespresso OriginalLine, it does not brew regular coffee. That’s a job for Nespresso VertuoLine.
There is no way for steaming or frothing milk with the Pixie. If you enjoy a cappuccino or similar beverages, it’s useful to learn how to froth milk. Nespresso recommends using the Aeroccino 3. Personally, I don’t think it’s the best frother available on the market.
Is This The Espresso Maker For Me?
If it suits your budget and your requirements, why not! As we see in this Nespresso Pixie review, there are some glaring faults and defects in this espresso maker. It’s also remarkably useful and brews a good cup. The machine is easy to use, manage, and control. You could complain about it being noisy, but that’s part of the job description of being an espresso machine.